Monday, 31 January 2011

January EP Reviews

EP of the Month

Karybdis – War for land

Genre: Melodic Death Metal, Thrash, Hardcore
For Fans of: At The Gates, Unearth,
Standout Track: Strain
Rating: 9.5/10

What karybdis have done here is nothing short of breathtaking. From the open air raid siren call of 'War for Land' to the final fade out of 'Strain' you are deeply captive under their mammoth grooves and harrowing vocal roars.
Having recorded the EP With Tariq Mattar (Megadeth, Iron Maiden) the sound they have achieved is truly epic, sounding like a cross between At The Gates' 'Slaughter of the Soul' and Unearth's 'III In the Eyes of Fire'. This is a text book example of a band that refuses to sell out to mediocrity and this EP will carry them far.

Gallium Jack – Post Autumn
Genre: Alternative Rock
For Fans of: Biffy Clyro, The Pixies, Placebo
Standout Track: Ragnus
Rating: 6.9/10

Gallium Jack say it loud and say it with feeling. This EP acts as a great demonstration of what a relatively new band are capable of on the local scene. Their songs show a great maturity to songwriting and an appreciation for vocal hooks that get lodged deep inside of your brain long after listen.

Chronographs – Outhouse Sessions
Genre: Hardcore, Progressive, Djent
For Fans of: Meshuggah, SiKth, Killswitch Engage
Standout Track: Tides
Rating: 8.5/10

At a time when Metal is shedding it's skin and definition between bands as getting all too hazy with the influx of Meshuggah wannabe's Chronographs show me that I was very wrong. This short but sweet EP proves Chronographs metal credentials with everything falling properly into place with a mix of razor sharp technicality and precision aggression that rips your throat out upon listening. With a UK and European tour currently being organised, watch out as these angry mother fuckers are out on the prowl.

Subservience – Blueprint To Chaos
Genre: Death Metal
For Fans of: Cannibal Corpse, Lamb of God, Carcass
Standout Track: Pathosis
Rating: 7/10

If you have seen Subservience live you will be very aware of how intense their live performance can get. Unfortunately they haven't managed to catch that sound in this recording with some slight distortion in the mix but the content is excellent. From beginning to end this EP is putrid with the essence of Death Metal giving Subservience a big stepping stone forward in tackling some of the South coasts angriest bands.

Prowess - ?
Genre: Alternative
For Fans of: Metallica, Paramore
Standout Track: Broken
Rating: 4/10

The recording here is very rough and my copy almost unplayable making it extremely hard for me to review this properly. But however awkward the guitar tones are or out of time the drum kit is there is some credibility to the music. The songs are well constructed and the female vocals soar to create catchy chorus's but there appears to be a slight paradox on styles. Prowess have tried to take on to much sonically and it has cluttered up their sound. The vocals need to stand out more than the guitar does, it's almost like overdubbing Kelly Clarkson onto a Metallica track.

Kickfist give us a taster of what's to come
Song: Radical Heroism
Genre: Metal, Southern Rock
For Fans of: Pantera, Black Label Society
Rating: 8/10

With some new recordings set to take place in April/May this year, Kickfist give Underground Reviews a taster of what we can expect. A slight change to the Kickfist formula has been applied showing these guys are intent on taking their sound into unchartered territories. The sound is reminiscent of Pantera's 'Cowboys from hell” with the Whiskey slugging debauchery of Black Label Society. “Radical Heroism” parodies what makes their old style great: “singing about greed again”, whilst showing what will continue to make this a band to see in 2011.

*Please note: To have your EP reviewed a hard copy must be given. Get in contact with The Underground Reviews Team at:

Saturday, 29 January 2011


Jack Hammer Promotions
Belushi's Brighton
Friday 28th Jan

Entering the gig last night my excitement was just as much matched with curiosity as the brief memory of playground rumour still running through my mind. It was hard to match the jolly faced red sweater adorned presenter of popular television show, Art Attack with a hard rocking band with such songs as 'Wanna Get High' and 'In For the Kill'. However Marseille impressively showed a packed out crowd of nostalgia ridden fans that they are more bonafide rock stars than a tired old gimmick.

Prior to Marseille's performance was local 5 piece Rockers Prowess. The front women was very engaging delivering catchy vocal lines to already catchy songs featuring heavy riffs and anthemic chorus's. Their set was not perfect with some polishing that is needed in places, however with a few more gigs under their belt i'm sure Prowess will gain momentum allowing them to take on bigger local acts.

Prowess showing potential

Neil Buchanon's shred attack
Marseille stormed the stage with more ferocity than bands half their age quickly creating a genuinely exciting buzz that caused girls to scream and horns to be raised. Huge power stances were pulled as riff after riff were flawlessly delivered causing adrenaline to surge through the body of the crowd.

As their set list quickly flew by the fourth wall separating band and fans was soon levelled. In fact it got quite crazy down there with people crowd surfing, head banging circles forming and an eventual stage invasion making for a night that will not be soon forgotten.

Sonically Marseille's music featured everything that makes a high octane Rock performance awesome; The dual harmonies of Thin Lizzy, the soaring vocals of Maiden, the party lyrics of Kiss plus their own piece of exuberance to boot.

Attitude and passion for their music flooded off stage, and it really takes a band like this to remind you why you got into Hard Rock/Metal in the first place.

Triple guitar assault

Marseille asked Brighton to 'raise hell' and that is exactly what they got. This is band that cannot be ignored on the live circuit and as their catchy songs still run through my mind a sense of wonder leaves me asking will 2011 be Marseille's year.

Marseille hanging out with their fans

Monday, 17 January 2011

Damaged & Karybdis

Black Sunday Promotions

"Metal Madness 2011"

Brighton Hobgoblin

Saturday 15th Jan 

New addition, Jonny Sennett
Tonight see's Damaged play their first gig in 8 months with the addition of a new guitar player. They open their set with an instrumental giving the front women a chance to rock out on the guitar before taking vocal duties for the rest of the set.

I was instantly drawn into this band as passion dripped from every
member lifting their songs off the stage and getting the audience moving. Their set was constructed with perfect precision dropping and lifting the dynamics at critical moments taking you on a journey from beginning to end.

Musically I found it hard to categorise this band, they appear to take influence from Metal and Hard Rock though no one band as an obvious influence, a credit to their originality.

Damaged are definitely a band to check out on the scene, a really great live band, great musicians and some excellent songs that I am looking forward to hearing again

My Photography skills might be rubbish, but Damaged certainly are not.

Karybdis were just the breed of Metal band that I had been horning for all week. After a slow start getting the sound levels adjusted properly these guys burst into a set with the impact and precision of an Atomic bomb.

A groove so heavy Bass player Jay Gladwin shits himself mid song

Gil Renault spots a familiar face
Like Damaged before it is very hard to place these guys neatly in a sub-genre. Their progressive outlook takes you through the history books showing both the past and the future of our genren reminding you what it's about; going ape shit to some heavy fucking music.
Front man Gil has the perfect vocal performance to front such a band reminding me of the ripping and distorted style of Unearths Trevor Phipps of. The musicians behind the voice show impressive eclecticism and technicality taking you from the deep Gothenburg riffs off At the Gates, Jazzy interludes of Opeth to the mind-fucking attitude of Meshuggah and SiKth.

This Anglo-French-Indian quintet are out promoting their 2010 E.P. “War For Land” that will later be reviewed. Upon first listen this is something to get genuinely excited about and no wonder for reading their Myspace page shows an impressive drop of Metal credentials.
Karybdis are out for total annihilation and I cannot wait to see this band take what's rightfully theirs at a time when Metal is stagnating under the influx of copy-cat bands and careless performances. 

As always Black Sunday events are something to look forward to and February 5th will be no different with an impressive line-up of: By Definition, Gutterfly and Sweet Ether to name a few.


Friday, 14 January 2011

Gallium Jack & Pip Boy 3000 At Sleeping Panda Promotions

Brighton Hobgoblin
Thursday 13th Jan

Tonight see's the 3rd Sleeping Panda promotions event upstairs at the Hobgoblin, with two bands opening the event that I had yet to hear around Brighton. Headlining the event were Grunge encrusted Sweet Ether with support from melodic Alt rockers, Sice

Gallium are a 3 piece born and bred in Brighton and are out promoting their new E.P. “Post Autumn” that will be reviewed later this month.

Musically they fit into the “Alternative Rock” genre next to the likes of Biffy Clyro, but also borrowing elements from Grunge bands such as The Pixies with soft verses and distorted chorus, that makes for an enjoyable listening experience.

Their set begins with an heir awkwardness as would be expected performing to a room of less than 10 people, but they quickly take control through the raw quality of their music. Their front man has a great voice delivering a very believable and emotional performance that most front men forget. But musically they are very interesting. Tasteful use of effects and technicality create atmospherics and tension without overshadowing the band.

They played a short but sweet set leaving behind some catchy vocal hooks in my head that can only been accomplished by a mature appreciation for songwriting. They currently have no upcoming gigs, but watch their Myspace for in a town where talentless wank indie shit is so rife, it is refreshing to hear something with feeling.

Pip boy open their set to a backing track, which I normally find a bit overkill to small room of 25 people but actually makes for a strong opener that gets everyone interested. They then burst into a Kyuss like stoneyer than stone grove that get's my head rocking. However it is very hard for any band to sound like Kyuss without, well, sounding like Kyuss!

The initial excitement wears off very quickly, though as the set begins to sound bland and somehow lacking in energy. The drummer is very polite perhaps being the root of this energy drought and it leaves a blurring in definition between stoner rock and lethargic rock.

With track names such as “Big bear vs the ketamine monster” little is left to the imagination and I just feel that a band of this calibre should grab me by the balls instead of being balls.
For me Pip boy have some good ideas, a great vocalist and some disgusting tempo changes that always get me excited but I don't feel that they are really serious about this.

Their set initially promised so much but as the set went on it was more and more evident that something is missing and it left me having to put on “Sky Valley” the moment I got home. 

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